T. Edmund Spinks, Esq. providing legal representation in Estate Planning, Elder Law and Special Needs.
If you’re looking for personalized attention and real results, call our offices today at (813)651-1233 for a consultation.

Practice Areas


  • Wills / Trusts
  • Power of Attorney
  • Living Wills
  • Healthcare POA
  • Asset Protection


  • Medicaid Planning
  • Veteran Pension
  • VA Aid & Attendance
  • Guardianship
  • Probate


  • Special Needs Trust
    • First and Third Party
  • Guardian Advocate
  • ABLE Act
  • Pooled Trusts


Estate Planning 

Planning is part of every aspect of life as we grow our families and create financial and personal goals. It often becomes even more important in our later years. A custom-designed estate plan ensures your wishes are carried out according to specific instructions, provides optimal tax avoidance, and makes passing your property and assets to your family easier during difficult times.

If you want to maintain control over your quality of life, your home and valuables, how you age, and protect your privacy, estate planning is the solution. You can make decisions to help your family during medical emergencies, such as end-of-life care and treatment, and how to distribute belongings to beneficiaries after you have passed.

We discuss your concerns to help you outline specific instructions before creating primary estate planning documents to achieve your goals.

Five Foundational Estate Planning Documents:


A will defines the executor and manager of your estate who pays debts and distributes property as you have specified. The administration of assets in the will can be as broad or detailed as you like and address beneficiaries and guardians for minor children. You can also direct family members about your funeral and burial wishes to avoid conflicts.


Setting up a trust also distributes assets and property. But a trust does not have to go through probate if it is well-designed and routinely updated. Property is still distributed at death privately, without public court interference.

Living Will 

This tool outlines your wishes for end-of-life medical care. It can include instructions regarding medical treatments in specific situations so family members don’t have to stress over making difficult decisions. It helps keep peace during emotional times.

Health Care Power of Attorney

A health care power of attorney lets you choose someone you know and trust to make health care decisions for you when you are not able. It remains in effect until you recover. This person is guided by your living will or health care surrogate and ensures medical professionals understand your wishes. If you have minor children, you may also want to include a Florida pre-need guardianship designation to name someone you trust to make decisions on behalf of your children.

Financial Powers of Attorney (Durable and Enhanced)

A financial power of attorney designates a person to have the power to act in your place for financial matters. The durable financial power of attorney stays in effect even if you are able to handle your affairs. A financial power of attorney removes the need and expense of appointing a guardian if you become unable to manage your financial affairs. An enhanced financial power of attorney also allows you to apply for and plan for government benefits.

Probate & Trust Administration

Many people become involved with administering an estate at some point. It may result from being named the personal representative (executor) of an estate, the trustee of a trust, or beneficiary or heir of an estate.


For will-based estate plans, probate covers the entire legal process necessary to settle a person’s estate after their death. The appointed representative (usually a family member) opens the probate case in court. With the court’s help, they’ll work through all the financial business the decedent left behind.

Trust Administration

For trust-based estate plans, your designated trustee manages the trust and distributes assets to heirs after your death. There is nothing to file, and it doesn’t need to be submitted to probate court. A trustee has a fiduciary duty to account for trust assets and expenses, notices and reports, and distributions made according to the terms of the trust.

The Process

A number of steps must be taken between death and the distribution of assets in probate and trust administration. Our firm can help you with the following:

  • Notifying beneficiaries, heirs, and creditors of the estate administration
  • Inventorying and appraising estate assets
  • Reviewing claims filed by creditors
  • Paying approved claims
  • Selling assets if the estate lacks liquidity
  • Preparing and paying estate taxes
  • Distributing assets to beneficiaries and heirs

We guide personal representatives and trustees in administering estates appropriately.

Spinks Law Firm practices [estate planning] and [elder law], including Medicaid planning, Veterans planning, guardianships, and [probate & trust administration]. Peace of mind comes from knowing you can age with dignity and provide for your family after death. If you’re looking for personalized attention and real results, contact us today! We welcome the opportunity to discuss your legal needs.


Elder Law

Elder law attorneys help families productively prepare for long-term care needs and provide for family matters after death. They have a wide range of expertise in estate planning services that address concerns at later stages of life. When you’re beyond 50, needs can become more immediate with rapidly declining health which can cause accidents or illnesses that require extended recovery or result in permanent incapacitation.

Whether you’re a working parent, retiree, or active senior avoiding the need for long-term care in a nursing home facility, Spinks Law Firm can help. We prepare you for needs like:

  • Life care planning and generational protections
  • Medicare
  • Medicaid qualification, application, claims, and appeals
  • Qualified Income Trust/IRR Med/VA Trusts
  • Veterans pension, aid and attendance, and survivor benefits
  • Assisted Living and Nursing Home Care Trusts and will preparation – living trusts and living wills
  • Power of Attorney and incapacity planning
  • Preservation and transfer of assets to avoid spousal impoverishment
  • Long-term care and long-term care insurance
  • Access to health care in managed care settings
  • Nursing home and assisted living placement
  • Tax planning
  • Special Needs Trusts
  • ABLE accounts
  • Probate and trust administration

Long-Term Care

Long-term care strategies are designed to help offset the costs of potential long-term care services. Accidents and illness can cause the need for long-term care, and so can declining health as we age. Services include:

  • Skilled home health care
  • Private home care and personal care
  • Companion services
  • Emergency medical alert systems
  • Community care facilities
  • Nursing home facilities
  • Assisted living
  • Independent living
  • Memory care communities
  • Adult daycare services
  • Placement services
  • Hospice care

The average annual cost for in-home care and nursing home care in Florida ranges from $60,000 to over $100,000. Attempting to use your savings will affect the legacy you leave to your loved ones. Spinks Law Firm can implement strategies to protect your assets and provide the level of care you prefer as you age.

Proactive Medicaid Planning to Pay for Long-Term Care

Government programs, such as Medicaid, are available to many seniors needing financial and medical support. But individual qualifications and application processes can be complicated and confusing. Since Medicaid is known to provide health care benefits for people with low incomes or disabilities, many people don’t believe they can qualify.

However, legal strategies provide income and asset protection to prepare you to qualify before you need coverage. Proactive planning uncovers the best way to manage your expenses and legally gift assets or move them into a revocable living trust. We may use an irrevocable Qualified Income Trust (QIT), or Miller Trust, to meet income requirements. Assets and income that exceed Medicaid requirements will no longer be countable toward eligibility.

Crisis Planning for Immediate Long-Term Care

If you are in a situation where you need long-term care but have not been able to plan for it, there are still ways you can preserve some of your hard-earned assets. It’s still possible to reduce long-term health care costs, such as nursing home care, assisted living care, and rehab, in an emergency. With an experienced attorney, qualification will go faster and smoother because we know who to contact in a crisis, which documents are needed, and how to avoid issues that can slow down the process. You don’t have to make critical decisions and deal with complex paperwork on your own. Trust us to get you through a tough time.

Veterans Planning

If you’re a Veteran, it’s crucial to understand all the resources and aid available to you through the Veterans Administration. Some Veterans benefits include:

  • Veterans Supplemental Income
  • Survivors Spouse Pension
  • Aid and Attendance Benefits
  • Dependency and Indemnity Compensation
  • Veterans Life Insurance
  • Pension Benefits
  • Disability Compensation
  • Veterans Burial Benefits

Attorney Ed Spinks is a VA-accredited attorney with over 25 years of military experience and understands the complex requirements involved with qualifying and applying for benefits. Veterans have special importance at Spinks Law Firm.

Adult Guardianship

When caring for adults with disabilities or parents with declining health, filing a petition for guardianship may be necessary to help them with financial and medical decisions. If your loved one didn’t create durable powers of attorney designating other family members or professionals to make these decisions in advance, we can help you seek guardianship.

Spinks Law Firm practices [estate planning] and [elder law], including Medicaid planning, Veterans planning, guardianships, and [probate & trust administration]. Peace of mind comes from knowing you can age with dignity and provide for your family after death. If you’re looking for personalized attention and real results, contact us today! We welcome the opportunity to discuss your legal needs.


 Special Needs Planning

Caring for an individual with special needs is one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences for any family. But are you prepared if something happens to you? It’s imperative to have a plan in place, like a special needs trust, to ensure that your loved one will have care and support throughout their lifetime.

What is Special Needs Planning?

Special needs planning provides legal protection for any person or family member with a disability. Disabilities can be diagnosed at birth, occur in adulthood, or be caused by illness or injury. The earlier you start your special needs planning, the better, especially if you’re concerned about preserving significant government benefits your loved one relies on.

The legal strategies you should consider with special needs planning include:

  • Establishing a special needs trust
  • Opening an ABLE account
  • Appointing guardianship
  • Creating a letter of intent

Special Needs Trusts

Special needs trusts, also called supplemental needs trusts, are created to benefit a loved one with physical or mental disabilities. They differ from other trusts due to unique conditions that accommodate the specific circumstances and lifestyle of a person with disabilities. Special needs trusts also ensure your loved one doesn’t jeopardize eligibility for government benefits due to increased assets. Depending on the type of assets used to fund the trust, you can choose between a first- or third-party trust.

Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Accounts

The ABLE Act of 2014 created tax-advantaged savings programs for eligible people with disabilities. Funds help them pay for qualified disability expenses. If your loved one receives Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), it can be deposited into an ABLE account. Annual contribution limits for 2023 are $17,000. If their account value goes over $100,000, the additional amount becomes countable toward government benefits eligibility.

At Spinks Law Firm, we determine whether a special needs trust or ABLE account is the best choice for your situation. We also ensure you don’t make mistakes that could jeopardize your loved one’s government benefits.

Florida Guardian Advocates for Loved Ones with Intellectual Disabilities

A guardian agrees to take on the responsibility of a person’s health and wellbeing or financial and property matters of their estate. The need for guardianship arises when a person becomes incapacitated by illness, injury, or declining health with age.

For minors, their parents are guardians until they reach adulthood. However, if a child with special needs will not be able to make their own legal and medical decisions as an adult, parents should begin guardianship proceedings before their 18th birthday. This ensures their loved one’s best interest will always be protected. 

In Florida, a simplified guardianship proceeding is available for adults with disabilities. It is significantly less expensive than a typical incapacity guardianship. An experienced special needs planning attorney at Spinks Law Firm can help you make critical decisions, file a petition, gather medical records, and represent you in guardianship proceedings.

Letter of Intent

This informal document should be part of the estate plan of any parents with children with special needs or caretakers of adults with disabilities. It’s a detailed account of your loved one’s medical, educational, social, and behavioral requirements. The letter gives future caregivers or guardians an inside look at the daily requirements and lifestyle of the person with special needs. While the document has no legal authority, it provides a valuable set of instructions to any person taking over the care of a child or adult with disabilities.

Spinks Law Firm practices [estate planning] and [elder law], including Medicaid planning, veterans planning, guardianships, and [probate & trust administration]. Peace of mind comes from knowing you can age with dignity and provide for your family after death. If you’re looking for personalized attention and real results, contact us today! We welcome the opportunity to discuss your legal needs.